Very few girls’ schools played cricket and our main opponents, in the years 1965 -1972 when I played, were Penrhos College in Colwyn Bay and Morton Hall near Oswestry. Matches were keenly contested and whilst we usually defeated Penrhos we had some enthralling and closer encounters with Morton Hall. In 1969 Margaret Griffiths took a caught and bowled in her last match to defeat them by two runs, in the last over. Both schools had larger and, significantly, flatter pitches on which to play. The ground at Penycoed was the hockey field; any wicket which was laid out got a reasonable cutting but left so much grass that no one ever scored many runs on it. When playing hockey the whole field did not possess one single right angle to speak of at the corners and the boundaries behind the bowling ends, when playing cricket, were so short that any boundary was only a two not a four. Bowling on it was much more successful than batting.
Although potentially a larger space a wicket was never created on New Field. Spectators would have been perched perilously on a slope on the north side and players might fall off the south side and into Penycoed wood never to be seen again should the ball have been hit with any power or height!
One match which I notice did not appear in the fixtures and results in the school magazine for 1970 was as unexpected as it was unusual. We received a challenge to play Ysgol y Gader Boys to a cricket match. We had never played such a match before and, sadly, never played them again. Matches of course were always on Saturdays but this was a Monday after school on July 6th and we had far more eager spectators than we would have normally seen!
Their captain was Sean Davey who was utterly charming and a good cricketer. Miss Thompson and I decided that if I were to win the toss it might be better to put them in to bat rather than if we were to bat first and possibly be bowled out for next to nothing and have no match to speak of! Win the toss we did.
We were never really going to beat them and they were stronger and more able than most of us but some of their batsmen decided to bat left-handed- perhaps to give us a sporting chance. However, they began losing wickets so this stopped quite soon as we bowled them out for 41 runs. Meryl Davies took 7-15.
We did struggle with their bowling but put up a really good fight before being bowled out for 35 and it got too dark. Eirian Davies, who later became an opera singer, was run out going for a second run because she refused to dive into the crease with her bat as her skirt was a little short and she wished to preserve her dignity! Losing by 6 runs was far from a disgrace and we all enjoyed a tense and exciting match.
To see a photograph of the cricket team in 1970 click on the RELATED ITEMS link on this page